600 Istanbul drivers withdraw buses as part of strike action to protest financial hurdles

600 Istanbul drivers withdraw buses as part of strike action to protest financial hurdles

ISTANBUL
600 Istanbul drivers withdraw buses as part of strike action to protest financial hurdles

The private owners of at least 600 public buses in Istanbul withdrew their buses from service on March 9 to protest financial hurdles announced by the Istanbul municipality. 

The municipality had said they had taken “necessary” measures to avoid possible issues in Istanbul traffic.

The drivers who went on strike stated that 17 percent of Istanbul passengers were using buses free and transport fares needed to rise.

Drivers parked their buses at the exit of “July 15 Martyr’s Bridge” also known as “Bosphorus Bridge” as part of the strike, which was organized by Turkey’s Public Transportation Employers Union.

The union’s head Kemal Çetin said the transportation fee, which they took from the Istanbul Municipality, did not absorb the cost.

“At the end of our negotiations they said our damages cannot be covered. The municipality organization Otobüs A.Ş. has estimated 45,000 Turkish Liras in average costs per month but we only receive 30,000 Turkish Liras from the municipality. This means we lose 15,000 Turkish liras per month. No employer can pay drivers’ salaries. We serve one million people per day and we have 2,500 workers,” Çetin said.

Meanwhile, Istanbul Municipality said they took the necessary measurements to relieve Istanbul passengers.

The Istanbul Electric Tramway and Tunnel Company (İETT) said the union’s statements did not reflect the truth.

“The drivers’ actions will be evaluated within the scope of the provision of the contract ‘to stop transportation through acts of collective resistance, to demonstrate with the bus, to undermine public order and authority and to be in action’” said the İETT in the statement.

The İETT also said they would add additional trips on necessary lines.

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